The College of Staten Island men’s swimming and diving team could not have pulled out to a faster start at the annual CUNYAC Championship at Lehman College, as the Dolphins have raced out to a 75-point lead after the day’s six events. The Dolphins have amassed 241 points, followed by Baruch College with 166, Lehman College with 155, Brooklyn College with 106, and York College at 37.
Activity started with diving, and senior John Pignatelli set the tone for the evening, as he scored 242.30 points on the one-meter boards, a new CUNYAC record, beating his previous best at last year’s championship. Pignatelli was followed by freshman Ayman El-Haddad who powered to a 188.75 score. Nolan Reese did not medal, but posted fourth in competition gaining valuable points for his team.
When focus shifted to the pool, the Dolphins were in supreme form. The team of Tim Sweeney, Andrey Tarasov, Derek Villa and Danila Novikov got CSI gold with a time of 1:28.13 in the 200-yard Freestyle Relay, shaving eight seconds off of their seed time, and CSI took fourth place in the race as well, earning 54 total points in the event.
In individual events from there, the duo of Derek Villa and Stephen O’Driscoll came in one-two in the 500-yard Freestyle. Villa knocked off 10 seconds on his time to finish at 5:01.27, while O’Driscoll shaved off over 20 seconds from his seed time to finish at 5:14.84. Next up was the 200-yard Individual Medley and this time Tarasov shined, posting a 2:00.91 time, going from fourth in seeding to win gold. In the 50-yard Freestyle, Sergio Miranda led the Dolphins to 4th place while Tarasov notched a sixth-place finish.
To wrap things up, CSI struck gold again in the 400-yard Medley Relay, as the team of Novikov, Tarasov, Sweeney, and Villa raced in at 3:35.62 to secure the win, a good 7-seconds off of their seed time.
CSI is now in the driver’s seat as they head into Day Two of the Championships tomorrow afternoon. The Meet concludes on Sunday morning. The Dolphins are hoping to repeat as champions, and one thing is for sure, they could not have asked for a better start.